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Gospel Procession for Palm Sunday: Luke 19:28-40

28After he had said this, [Jesus] went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.   29When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” 32So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38saying,  “Blessed is the king   who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven,   and glory in the highest heaven!” 39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

From my Palm Sunday sermon last year:

We wish every day could be a Palm Sunday Celebration – Parades, banners, good times, joyous gatherings, one of those perfect days. A day where everything is going the way WE want it to go.

You want a Messiah? Here he is.

You want power? You got it.

You want something to feel good about? Celebrate. Wave the palm branches. Sing the songs of Hosanna.

BUT, the reality is, every day is NOT Palm Sunday.

We live in a society of every kid gets a trophy. A’s on tests are good for the self-esteem. Don’t want to discourage them or hurt them in any way.

Not just our kids, right? WE also want the same when we grow up – we deserve the best. Best seats – call ahead seating. Best prices, first in line.

But, the reality is, every day is not Palm Sunday.

We don’t always win. The weather isn’t always sunny and 75 degrees.

Not everyone gets a job

Our kids are not always perfect

Relationships don’t always last

Sometimes we loose

We get sick

A pandemic hits!

People we love die.

AND IT HURTS – at the very core of who we are and what we are about, it hurts. A LOT.

Yes, we wish it was all joy and celebration and perfection.

But the reality is, we don’t always win. We don’t always get the job. We don’t always deserve an A. We don’t always stay in a perfect relationship. We don’t always experience the best of life.

Things Break.

We feel like we are all alone.

We lose.

Things are not always perfect!

No. Not every day is Palm Sunday.

BUT - Jesus did not come for Palm Sunday.

Jesus came for Good Friday.

As we will hear in the passion narrative in a few minutes, Jesus became Broken, Alone, in the eyes of many, A Loser.

As we hear in Philippians today, Jesus left all the trappings of heaven, emptied himself and became obedient to death. EVEN death on a cross.

If we go right from Palm Sunday celebrations to Easter Joy and forget about Good Friday, we miss what Jesus is doing here.

For on the cross Jesus takes upon himself all the the losing, the brokenness, the loneliness, the separation and death that we endure and puts them to death. And, it is ALL God’s doing.

BUT Good Friday is NOT the final word.

Jesus also came for Easter Sunday. We will talk more about that next week!

Palm Sunday may be what we want.

Good Friday – the cross, and Easter Sunday – the empty tomb are exactly what we need!

Let us journey again to the cross.

Let us pray: Everlasting God, in your endless love for the human race you sent our Lord Jesus Christ to take on our nature and to suffer death on the cross. In your mercy enable us to share in his obedience to your will and in the glorious victory of his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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